The 1920s and 1930s

A 1921 article by Maurice Jay for the New York Evening Mail, reprinted by the Linotype company for circulation amongst its staff, stated that the plant was riding out the post-war business slump and economic depression. Back on a peace footing, the Linotype organisation doubled its pre-war output, exporting to every country in Europe, Asia and Africa, supplying 95% of the newspapers requiring such equipment.

According to Jay, at the Broadheath plant labour turnover was low at 20% maximum. The great majority of the 2,500 workers were members of a trades union but the company had never conceded that only union men should be employed. Workers could therefore choose who was to represent them in negotiations. The plant had a works committee consisting of thirty-three employees and a works advisory council consisting of seven employees and seven management representatives. This method of maintaining good relations was assisted by a profit-sharing scheme which consisted of fixing a basic labour price for a piece of work which was acceptable to the workers’ committee, and then sharing equally with the workers whatever was saved on the cost of production.

At the annual dinner of the Linotype Works’ Officers’ Association in January 1925, it was reported that business had been bad since the war, but the company had been able to find work for its workers even when other businesses were partly idle and unemployment was increasing. 1924 had been their most successful year.

Linotype and Machinery Works, Altrincham - Plan of Works and Estate

Linotype and Machinery Works - Plan of Works and Estate, undated. Trafford Local Studies Collection, cat. ref. PLA/1/6

In 1936, The Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale Guardian published a series of articles about the economic life of Broadheath. One article stated that Linotype employed approximately 2,000 people, including 1,600 engineers. The firm was said to be successful because it looked after its employees. Not only were there sport and leisure facilities, but it also offered a works’ society, as well as a first-aid and ambulance service.

The 1920s and 1930s